Betty Jean Hauser (Morgan).
December 26th, 1952 is the day my dear Wittle Mom came into this world, and January 3rd, 2019 is the day she left it. I will forever celebrate this amazing woman, her merciful heart, strength, grace, creativity, joy amidst inner turmoil, and her perfect imperfections.
I am painfully grateful to see her reflection in the mirror… to see her hazel eyes looking back at me. I have learned to love my rough, wrinkly, old-before-their-time hands with curved pinky fingers (Jim has the same pinkies too!), because they look like hers AND they make the same sound hers made when rubbing lotion on them in attempt to smooth their appearance (I remember this sound throughout nearly my entire childhood, and mom exclaiming “Ugh! My hands are so ugly and old looking!”). They never looked old and ugly to me… They just looked like the hands that could do anything, and that often brought me comfort.
Mom was beautiful, but she didn’t feel beautiful, especially if she didn’t have her “face on”. She had quite a routine at her makeup mirror each morning. I was always so fascinated with watching her transform herself from an insecure little girl to a seemingly confident woman who could boldly take on the day and its challenges.
She never really felt worthy of love, I believe, but could love better than most. Intentional, interested, thoughtful, serving love. Once you were her person, you were never far from her mind, and she showed it with little gifts, notes, acts of service, or just being there. She wore her heart on her sleeve, which made her vulnerable and easily wounded. This had the potential to be devastating, but also could cause her to dig her heels in with determination to love even harder, and fight more.
Mom was a fighter. I grew up hearing about how she fought for my life throughout my journey with cancer. I believe it. I have medical documentation to prove it! She continued to fight for me (and the rest of her family)… even until her end. I, on the other hand, fought to let her go… and still war within myself. Sometimes, a way to care for someone is by letting them know you need them. The main thing I regret is playing it tough. I gave Mom and Dad permission to go, but sometimes I wish I would’ve told them how much I needed them to stay…
This high school drop-out was sharp. She was intelligent, witty, clever and oh so creative! She could master nearly any medium, from delicate bead and needle work, to technology, to the power tools out in the garage. She could always find or create a solution. We often talked about her next million-dollar idea that would make us all rich for life (I still maintain that she and I were the first people to think of Spanx!).
My heart breaks as I write these things, and yet I feel so blessed that I can. I end with more questions than certainties, but I know that I have been touched by the hand of God through this Mother’s love.
Thank you, mom. I love and miss you more than I could ever express.
Your Wittle Girl
P.S. Obviously, music has always had a significant impact on my childhood, family, and life. I put together this collection of songs that reflect our relationship, my grief, our internal dialogue, songs she sang to me, her heart and favorites. I want to share this with those who are there too… grieving, embracing, remembering, searching for ways to feel close to their departed, and for that peace that passes understanding. You’re not alone.